Getting to 50 and Beyond

There are no technical barriers, and few financial ones, to restrict the energy efficiency of most commercial construction from being at least 50 percent better than current code requirements. However, there is limited practical guidance for design teams who may be ready to consider advanced building performance.

Existing Building Retrofit Examples

New Buildings Institute (NBI) and Preservation Green Lab are seeking information on existing building retrofits that have achieved energy savings 30-50% or better than baseline consumption. 

Share your information with us!

High Performance Buildings Database

Many projects have already approached or surpassed this high level of performance, but the task of tracking down who’s done what, and with what result, can be cumbersome and time consuming. NBI's High Performance Buildings Database streamlines your research efforts by providing a central online location for information on buildings that have successfully met that performance test.
High Performance Buildings Database

Federal Tax Incentives

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) provides tax incentives for buildings whose energy performance reaches or exceeds 50% less than ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standards. On October 3, 2008, the energy provisions of the so-called ‘Financial Bailout’ legislation extended for five years the eligibility date for the tax deduction. Commercial buildings and/or equipment entering service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013 can realize a tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot by using 50% less energy with respect to lighting, HVAC, envelope and hot water systems. Please refer to the Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) for all the federal guidelines related to the tax deductions.
IRS guidelines for the EPACT 2005 tax deduction
Commercial Building Tax Deduction Coalition

High Efficiency Lighting

Recognizing that lighting may provide the simplest path to significant energy savings, we’ve created detailed examples of how you can improve the efficiency of lighting in a variety of building types. EPAct specifically allows it to be considered as a separate system, offering a deduction of up to $0.60 per square foot for lighting alone. For your convenience, we’ve included the Lighting Power Density Targets (based on a Whole Building Method) required to meet typical deduction levels. Of the numerous building types listed in the Power Density Targets matrix, we have created detailed examples of how you can improve lighting efficiency in:
Enclosed Offices

Reducing the total connected lighting load is only one step toward realizing the $0.60 per square foot tax deduction. Lighting controls must comply with mandatory and prescriptive requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2001 and must, at a minimum, provide for bi-level switching in all occupancy areas (excluding hotel and motel guest rooms, storerooms, restrooms and public lobbies). Calculated lighting levels must be consistent with the appropriate recommended practice guidelines set forth in the IESNA Lighting Handbook, 9th ed.
Commercial Lighting Tax Deduction

Tools & Resources

The U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) offers qualified computer software for calculating energy savings for purposes of the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction under Internal Revenue Code §179D.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published the Energy Savings Modeling and Inspeciton Guidlines for Commercial Building Federal Tax Deductions.